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Industry seeks concrete emission reduction plan as EU targets 90% cut by 2040
Photo credits @ Wikimedia / Raimond Spekking CC BY-SA 4.0

Industry seeks concrete emission reduction plan as EU targets 90% cut by 2040

The European Commission set a new target on Tuesday, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040 compared to 1990 levels. In response, hauliers and clean transport NGOs have called for the publication of a concrete phase-out plan with guidelines.

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Pölös Zsófia

Pölös Zsófia

Journalist Trans.info

08.02.2024

The European Commission set a new target on Tuesday, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040 compared to 1990 levels. In response, hauliers and clean transport NGOs have called for the publication of a concrete phase-out plan with guidelines.

Industry seeks concrete emission reduction plan as EU targets 90% cut by 2040
Photo credits @ Wikimedia / Raimond Spekking CC BY-SA 4.0

The announcement highlights “predictability and sustainability” as key benefits, providing clarity for industries, investors, and governments to make informed decisions and accelerate the green transition. The proposed strategy applies to the transport sector, which is expected to decarbonise through technological advancements and carbon pricing mechanisms.

“The EU will continue to develop the right framework conditions to attract investment and production,” the Commission’s press release reads, emphasising the link between climate action and industrial competitiveness. It proposes building upon the existing European Green Deal Industrial Plan and strategically targeting public investments to support clean technologies.

The ambitious target, however, drew varied reactions from stakeholders. While environmental groups applauded the move, the transport industry raised concerns about its feasibility and practicality.

Transport & Environment (T&E), a climate advocacy group, praised the EU’s ambition but expressed disappointment over the lack of a concrete phase-out plan for oil and gas, despite international commitments made at COP28. They argue that the projected 46 million tonnes of unabated oil and gas use by 2050 contradicts the goal and urges stricter regulations on the fossil fuel industry.

“Today, the EU showed strong ambition, but this headline goal will fall flat if it doesn’t come hand in hand with a fossil fuel phase-out,” said Sofie Defour, climate director at T&E. “Europe will desperately try to meet a 2040 goal whilst still feeding on fossil fuels. But you simply can’t outrun a bad diet.”

ITD International Transport, the Danish transport industry organisation, acknowledged the importance of sustainability but raised concerns about the feasibility of the new target. Stefan K. Schou, CEO of ITD, compared the Commission’s recommendation to „an Ikea furniture piece without assembly instructions,” pointing out the lack of clear implementation guidelines.

Schou expressed support for the green agenda but emphasised the need for realistic timelines and practical solutions. He pointed to existing legislation like the Fit for 55 package and the AFIR agreement as positive steps already underway. While embracing change, Schou stressed the need for technological advancements and infrastructure developments to facilitate a smooth transition.

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